(Sports Network) - Determined to make their first postseason appearance since
2006, the Oakland Athletics are catching fire at the right time.
The wild card-leading Athletics go for a series win over the LA Angels of
Anaheim Wednesday in the continuation of a four-game set from the Big A.
Oakland and the New York Yankees currently occupy the final two spots in the
American League playoff race, with the Tampa Bay Rays two games off the lead
and the Angels just 2 1/2 games back.
The A's padded their lead with Tuesday's 6-5 victory -- their 11th in a row on
the road -- behind home runs from Yoenis Cespedes and Brandon Moss. Taking the
place of injured starter Brandon McCarthy (head), Daniel Straily struck out
eight and allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings for the win.
"In the middle of the third, Straily got really good," A's manager Bob Melvin
said. "He worked really hard and almost got us a full seven."
The A's have homered in 16 of their last 17 games and are unbeaten in the
first five games of a seven-game road trip. They still sit three games behind
the Texas Rangers for the AL West lead and are on the longest road winning
streak since an 11-game run from April 9-26, 1981. Oakland had a club-best 12-
game road winning streak from July 31-Aug. 15, 1971.
Oakland, which is 14-3 since Aug. 24 and 21 games over .500 for the first time
since finishing the 2006 season at 93-69, hopes rookie A.J. Griffin can remain
undefeated on the season when he takes the mound Wednesday. Griffin has won
back-to-back starts and is 5-0 with a 2.21 earned run average in 10 trips to
Griffin fanned seven batters in a 6-1 win at Seattle last Friday and limited
the hosts to a run in 5 1/3 frames. He is 3-0 in four road assignments and has
never faced the Angels. The right-hander is only the second pitcher in Oakland
history to begin his career 5-0 and is the first to do it as a starter.
Jim Nash went 7-0 over his first nine career starts in 1966 and is the only
Athletics pitcher to win more than five consecutive decisions to open his
Meanwhile, the Angels had won six in a row and 15 of 18 games before opening
this series and dropped to 3-2 on a seven-game homestand last night.
Torii Hunter went 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBI and Vernon Wells added a
two-run shot for the Angels, who also got three hits from Mike Trout. Albert
Pujols has hit safely in 17 of his last 19 games, and 27 of his last 45 hits
have been for extra bases.
Erick Aybar extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
"We had opportunities," Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "Tonight was one of
those nights. We just didn't get it done."
Jerome Williams allowed four runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings in the loss.
Hoping to keep the Halos within striking distance for one of the last two
postseason spots in the AL, Ervin Santana gets the nod this evening. Santana
has won four of his last five decisions, but did not factor in the outcome of
a 3-2 win versus Detroit last Friday, as he struck out 10 and permitted two
runs through 6 2/3 innings.
Anaheim is 7-1 in Santana's last eight outings. He is 1-1 in two starts
against Oakland this season and an impressive 14-4 with a 2.05 ERA in 25
career games (23 starts) in the series. Santana, though, is 3-6 in 12 home
starts in 2012.
The Angels just swept the Athletics in three games last week at the Coliseum,
but Oakland is gaining a measure of revenge this time around.
The Sports Network